Image: Ancient bath
Tara Todras-whitehill  /  AP
Jerusalem Regional Archaeologist at Israel Antiquities Authority John Seligman, center, stands with workers on the steps of a newly discovered ancient Jewish ritual bath, in Jerusalem's Old City.
updated 9/23/2009 10:49:33 AM ET 2009-09-23T14:49:33

Israeli archaeologists say they have uncovered a ritual bath in Jerusalem that was likely used by Jewish pilgrims coming to the temple two millenia ago.

The bath is located next to the Temple Mount, the compound in Jerusalem's Old City where two Biblical Temples stood. The second was destroyed by Roman legions in 70 A.D.

The Israel Antiquities Authority says the stone bath was likely used for ritual purification by pilgrims who came to the Temple three times a year.

Similar ritual baths are still used by Jews for purification.

The site that once housed the temples is now Islam's third-holiest site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The ritual bath was found under homes in what is now the Old City's Muslim Quarter.

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